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Job postings in Ontario must soon include salaries. Pay equity advocates call it a good first step

In a significant move toward greater transparency in the job market, the Ontario government is set to implement new labor laws that will compel employers to disclose salary information in job postings. The announcement, made by David Piccini, Ontario's Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, includes a series of updates to the province's employment legislation.

One of the major changes focuses on the hospitality sector, introducing rules prohibiting unpaid trial shifts and preventing employers from deducting wages in cases of dine and dash, gas and dash, or any other stolen property incidents. However, the most noteworthy alteration is the requirement for employers to include the salary range for a position in every job posting.

This move follows the footsteps of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, both of which signed similar legislation into law in the past year. Ontario had originally planned even stronger requirements in 2018, but the legislation faced an unfortunate demise when the Liberal government was voted out.

Job seekers, including individuals like Kawal Preet Kaur, an internationally trained doctor, applaud the move as a step in the right direction. Kaur, who has faced challenges breaking into the Canadian medical and academic fields, believes that including compensation details in job postings will eliminate the need for job seekers to second-guess themselves when stating their salary expectations.

The job application process often consumes a full working day, from searching for the right job to tailoring a resume, going through the application, and potential interviews. Kaur emphasizes that posting salary ranges benefits both employers and employees by saving time and effort on unnecessary applications.

Despite the positive reception, only 37 percent of online job postings in Ontario last year included salary information. Kristina McDougall, who runs Artemis Canada, an executive search firm for technology companies, highlights the importance of transparency, stating that it provides companies with valuable data before posting roles or looking for new employees.

However, economist Armine Yalnizyan cautions that while these new rules represent a step toward transparency and pay equity, they may not be a panacea for the wage gap. According to government data, women in Ontario earn $0.87 for every dollar earned by men, with even greater disparities for racialized and Indigenous women.

Yalnizyan underscores that wage discrimination is deeply ingrained and requires more than just information disclosure to rectify. The full details of the proposal were not included in the legislation, leaving some uncertainty about its potential impact on changing patterns of behavior and effectively addressing wage gaps.

In conclusion, the move towards salary transparency in job postings in Ontario is widely seen as a positive step. While it may not be a cure-all for wage disparities, it signals a commitment to greater openness in the job market and is anticipated to benefit both employers and job seekers alike. The success of this initiative, however, will depend on its implementation and the broader efforts made to address deep-rooted issues of pay equity.